January Physical Media Reviews

I got a little tied up in January with everything that was going on, so this was a lighter month for reviews—a lot of time went to the start of the new season and getting up first impressions here and over on Otaku Review. But, I still got to review two really fun pieces and I’m set to tackle a few more in February!

Aquarion EVOL

“Bro before holes?”

Is it Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?, Volume 1: Hey, you know, it wasn’t anywhere close to as bad as I was anticipating, which actually makes me wonder if—just maybe—if it’s in the process of being adapted into anime that light novels become more generic and more bland. Is it Wrong… certainly isn’t groundbreaking or overly inventive, but it certainly had some measure of personality that I feel a lot of light novel harem or harem-y adaptations lack. I guess it’ll be interesting to see what J.C. Staff’s adaptation of the novel ends up doing with the source material. I’m also hoping to review the second volume of the series when Yen Press releases it, but the first one ended with a friendly C+. (Full Review)

Aquarion EVOL (Episodes 1-13): I’m (obviously) only halfway through the show, but what a ride it’s been so far! I don’t think Aquarion EVOL will end up inspiring the same kind of love in me that AKB0048 did, but EVOL does indeed surpass AKB0048‘s “sheer sheerness of being” qualities in some truly magnificent ways. Thus far, everything’s kind of just one big polyglot of themes and motifs and symbols, but I sort of get the sense this has all been one big set-up for the true story of the show. At the very least, I hope Mikono doesn’t get damseled too hard—I’m already quite uncomfortable with how bestial Kagura has become (unbridled sexuality uncoupled from love, anyone?) and how that’s somewhat resulted in Mikono starting to feel like a human bone or worse. In any case, the show’s a solid B+ from me thus far. (Full Review)

I was also on the Otaku Review Best of 2014 podcast back in late January. The top five shows I list are the same as in my Best of 2014 post, but if you want to hear me talk and butcher Japanese names, as well as hear the top shows of the other staff members, feel free to check it out!

Coming Up: Aquarion EVOL (Episodes 14-26), Engaged to the Unidentified, The Eccentric Family, Sword Art Online Progressive-Manga

9 thoughts on “January Physical Media Reviews

  1. Aquarion EVOL, I remember reading something about it a couple of years ago.

    Now after a quick visit to tvtropes: fanservice, fanservice, some type of a Church expy even including a nun-like caracter in questionable scenes.

    Well, another show like that, one of many in that vein. Lots of shows could be better without that stuff. Overall, of lots of series every season, few are really watchable without moral problems, what a miserable situation is that area of art and culture in.

    Engaged to the unidentified:

    Dropped after the first episode. An interesting premise ruined by the perverted older sister character, that is obsessed with her younger sister, and little girls (and a little girl is the character that begins to live with them).

    Is it Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? :

    What kind of series that one would be adapted into?


    • EVOL—Yeah, the whole fanservice thing is in a weird place for me because I often feel like the “fanservice” isn’t really “fanservice.” It’s kind of hard to explain. ^_^”

      Yeah, Benio was a drag on the whole show.

      Is it Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? is being adapted into an anime next season (dunno if it’s going to be 13 or 26 episodes yet), but I have a sneaking suspicion you probably won’t really like it.


      • What counts as fanservice for you?

        Or what is your definition of fanservice? (the vulgar kind, not things like spectacular mech battles, beautiful backgrounds, lots of time for a fan favorite character, etc).

        Another typical post 2011 LN adaptation, then.


        • Hmm…I wonder. For me, I think a lot of it has to do with the shot framing and the intentionality behind it. For EVOL, I don’t usually feel the nudity is in their for the sake of being titillating—nor that the plot/themes are a thinly veiled excuse for it, like they were in Kill la Kill—but as an honest attempt to depict the idea of expanding an individual’s world.

          & yup, that’s pretty much it.


          • I’ve read that some people describe certain scenes on the show as fanservice. But still, interesting points, because these lead to a discussion of the purpose of similar scenes, or these same scenes.

            Is the end result the same? leave aside supposed intentions, etc (usually, excuses on part of the author to have nudity on a production).

            What kind of image appears on screen? is something tempting for an “average” person?

            I think that nudity in productions is not necessary, and in the current climate, authors are even more suspect of their intentions.

            People has been inundated with immodesty and sexual content for decades, some people are more desensitized, but that doens’t make it acceptable.

            What about custody of the eyes, avoiding near occassions of sin? it looks that not much people care about these things… and sadly, much less in the areas of art and culture.

            And another aspect, how eager is people to display what is intimate, and not only physically, but emotionally too. This topic has many ramifications.

            There has been some kind of response to this, but some of these miss the problem (what I mentioned in your recent animation expo post).


    • I actually watched ETTU (Mikakunin is the common abbreviation from the Japanese title) back in Winter 2014 when it aired and generally enjoyed it despite some annoying characters and tendencies. It’s a cute show and the romance is generally decent, but some part of the humor just miss.


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